I've been a Rush fan since 1985 and I'm always going to want to see a film about the Toronto Trio, however, Rush: Time Stand Still is an uneasy concept. The hook of the countdown to the potentially last ever Rush concert works, but the mix of contributors that the camera eye focuses upon didn't fully animate me. The interviews with Geddy, Alex and Neil are illuminating (and in some instances, very frank), as are the insights provided by various members of the touring crew, but the conceit of shifting to fans unbalanced the film. As nice as the fans seemed to be, I'm not really that interested in a guy who collects every Rush news clipping there is to clip, or the background, motivations, and activities of the founder of RushCon when I could be learning more about the tour from the key players, literally. A documentary entirely about fans set against backdrop of the final tour/show would conceptually work, but the mixed approach is ultimately frustrating, especially as it really is the end of a rock era and presumably the last Rush film that will be made. In terms of content, the backstage preparations footage is excellent, and the final scenes are very poignant, but what is bittersweet is the dynamic that pervades the film. As another reviewer has stated, there is, from counterparts in the band and their manager, a clear sense that there is a strong desire for the show to go on within these quarters, but that it is Neil Peart who is adamant that it is the end for him (and so for the rest of the band). Now, given that they are my favourite band and always will be, I'd selfishly love another 10 Rush albums and for the band to go on endlessly rocking towards 2112, but I am also a realist and so I do not want to see Rush eventually losing it on stage, and I would hate to see the music simplified or compromised, as it inevitably would be given its complexity and the physical prowess needed to perfectly perform it. So, while Neil Peart may have now largely disavowed the influence of Ayn Rand, he still remains doggedly individualistic to resist, and I respect him for displaying such determined free will in the face of peer pressure in his decision to draw the Rush curtain and move out of the musical limelight - the Rush drum parts are not suited to the 60+ age range, and Peart wisely knows (and painfully feels) this. Hence, he clearly recognises that, sadly, time does not stand still. So, in the wake of the magnificent Clockwork Angels album, and two subsequent successful tours that saw the band playing at the top of their game, Rush and Neil Peart go out in triumph, and it would have been good to see this ethos communicated more clearly in the film as few bands ever achieve such a marathon career (or possess such potent enduring creative chemistry). So, in the end the film, while you do not need to make it your mission to see this, it is still certainly worth catching for its insights into how a band with such a long history plays its last note and final cymbal clash, but Beyond The Lighted Stage remains the definitive Rush filmic anthem, and I'm glad I saw this on Sky Arts as I would have been disappointed to have paid any big money for the DVD. The band's fans are a mighty fine group (and their tears do flow), but when I'm in the mood to watch a film about Rush, I just want to hear the words of Dirk, Lerxst and Pratt.
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